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A Strategy of Targeting Activation to Reactants: Breaking through Efficiency Bottleneck of Solar Fuel Production

 

Recently, Dr. Ouyang Shuxin’s group, an affiliate of TU-NIMS Joint Research Center led by Prof. Ye Jinhua who is expert of The Thousand Talents Plan, published an article titled “Targeting Activation of CO2 and H2 over Ru-Loaded Ultrathin Layered Double Hydroxides to Achieve Efficient Photothermal CO2 Methanation in Flow-Type System” in Advanced Energy Materials, the international top journal in the field of materials science. (A link to the paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201601657/abstract) This paper is selected as Inside Front Cover Article by the editorial board.

With the highlight of growing energy crisis and environmental pollution, it has been attracting more attention to develop solar fuels for decreasing the dependency on fossil fuels. Development of catalytic systems and catalytic materials with high performance are becoming the central topics in this research field. It is the inevitable trend to develop heterostructured nanocatalysts, which exhibit multifunctional properties or synergistic performance, and thus can be expected to provide new ideas for solar fuels generation.

Our work develops a novel heterostructured nanocatalyst which was fabricated via an impregnation process of loading the Ru nanoparticles over the exfoliated layered double hydroxides (LDHs). The as-prepared Ru@FL-LDHs catalyst exhibits a rather high photothermal reduction activity of CO2 owing to the synergism of Ru and ultrathin basic supports. The excellent performance over this catalyst originates mainly from the targeting activation of H2 and CO2 over Ru nanoparticle and exfoliated LDHs components, respectively. In the flow-type reactor designed by us, with the continuous flow of CO2 and H2, the final conversion percentage of CO2 over the Ru@FL-LDHs exceeds 96.3%, and the selectivity of CH4 is almost 100% under irradiation. This study provides a new design idea of catalyst functionalized by targeting activation to reactants, and furthermore, the high efficiency and stability of this type of catalysts in flow reaction system open a door toward potential industrial solar-to-chemical energy conversion.

TU-NIMS Joint Research Center led by Prof. Ye Jinhua is one of international collaboration platforms of our school, which aims at promoting international communication and cooperation, enhancing the standards of innovation research of multi-disciplinary crossing research including material chemistry, physics, etc, and training research talents with international view and first-rate research accomplishment. The first author of the paper published in the AEM is postgraduate student Ren Jian, and he now studies in Freie Universität Berlin in Germany for perusing his doctoral degree.

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